7 Habits of Highly Effective Marriages
While there's no simple recipe for a healthy and thriving marriage, there are some common habits in marriages where both partners express satisfaction. Here are the top 7 that I have observed in my practice:
1. Highly Effective Marriages Make Room for Personal Space.
A little time after work to acclimate from work-mode to home-mode is healthy. So is spending an hour to yourself on the weekends. This may be tricky with small children, but personal time helps you connect better during family time.
2. Highly Effective Marriages Include Intellectual Stimulation.
Whether it be reading a book together, listening to a podcast, asking one another the Gottman "Love Map" questions, or setting goals, mental stimulation adds value to our relationship and promotes our mental health.
3. Highly Effective Marriages Understand the Power of Words.
Our words hold so much weight in our marriage and can deeply wound or have a powerful healing effect on our relationship. Evaluate your words and tone before you say them. Your future marriage will thank you for it.
4. Highly Effective Marriages Allow Adversity to Strengthen Their Connection
Every couple will go through adversity, and many push through together without ever ending their marriage. Implementing these habits and facilitating a safe place for each other emotionally during hard times will get you through these circumstances together.
5. Highly Effective Marriages Touch Each Other Often
When a couple builds their physical relationship, whether it be holding hands wherever they are or enjoying regular (even planned) intimacy, they will experience a deeper trust and will feel more emotionally connected.
6. Highly Effective Marriages Avoid Negative Triggers
Triggers are words and actions that put us in a negative emotional state. By being keenly aware of our triggers and our spouse’s, we can be more conscientious about our response to them, or avoid them altogether. Doing so develops a deep level of trust in our relationship.
7. Highly Effective Marriages Turn Off Electronic Devices
Technology appears to keep us plugged in, yet we feel more alone and isolated than any other time in history. We could invest the hours we spend scrolling through our phones into our families. Perhaps it’s time to let the batteries run low and charge up our marriages instead.
Now you may have noticed that communication was not an item on my top 7 list! Maybe not directly. But if you look closely, it’s woven into all 7 habits. Communication is more than just how we talk with each other. It’s expressed through our daily habits.
I encourage you and your spouse to practice at least one habit every day (bonus points if you do two)! Then take 10 minutes every few days to discuss your experience together. This exercise can turn these habits into a lifestyle–one that both you and your spouse will enjoy for years to come.